Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuscan Lentil Soup

I know I have mentioned a cookbook I love- The Good Carb Cookbook. I saw this recipe and thought it sounded interesting, though I have limited experience eating lentils and that experience was NOT a pleasant one! So today as the weather has definitely changed, I decided would be a great time to try this out on the family. We were not disappointed! In fact, Sam ate two servings (small ones, but hey!) as did Joe and I. Conveniently the store had marked down their foccacia rolls, and they were a match made in heaven! The really nice thing is that this whole meal probably cost less than a latte!
Here it is, I highly recommend trying this one!

Tuscan Lentil Soup

3/4 c brown lentils, picked thru and rinsed
1/3 c brown rice
4oz mushrooms, rough chopped
1 c chopped celery, including leaves (yummm!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 zucchini, diced (this was my addition, I am trying to get more veggies!)
1 tbsp crushed garlic
beef bouillon granules to make 4 cups broth
2 tsp Tuscan seasoning (I have a little grinder that has sage, bay, basil, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary)
1/4 tsp black pepper
5 cups water
1 quart jar tomatoes, crushed in juices
3 c packed fresh spinach (I used 1 cup frozen and will use more next time)
2 tbsp olive oil
Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a big soup pot (at least 4 qt) over medium-high heat until rippling. Toss in the chopped veggies (except tomatoes and spinach) and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes until tender, then add in the rice. Cook stirring often for a few minutes to slightly brown the rice, then add in the spices and lentils. Pour in the water and the bouillon and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes (and frozen spinach if using) and cook another 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender and the liquid is thick. Add in the fresh spinach and remaining oil and cook another minute or two to wilt the spinach.
Serve topped with grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese and a nice crusty bread! This also paired nicely with a new pinot noir we tried- Scarlet of Paris.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"Musical" Chili

I call this "Musical" Chili for an obvious reason! It was very tasty and -tho vegetarian- it was also very filling! I will be making this many times in the next few months...

"Musical" Chili P1

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 1/4 cups cooked soybeans
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 small zucchini, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 TBSP chopped garlic
1 large can tomato sauce
1 quart home-canned diced tomatoes
2 TBSP cajun seasoning
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt, if needed
2 tsp olive oil

Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until hot. Saute zucchini, onion, pepper, and garlic about 5 minutes until soft. When softened, dump into 5 or 6 quart crockpot set to high. Add all other ingredients except salt, and stir well. Cover and cook on high 2 hours (at this point mine was simmering). After 2 hours, check for seasoning adding salt if needed. Continue cooking on high another hour or two.

We ate ours topped with shredded white cheddar cheese and FF sour cream. This makes a couple meals-worth, and freezes well!

5:4 Challenge #9- Beef, Potatoes, Peas, Legumes, and Tomatoes!

This is my dish for the latest 5:4. I know it's not terribly creative, but the cool snap has me thinking warm, comfort-foody thoughts! This definitely fit the bill!

Hash P2-3

8 tiny yellow potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 quart home-canned tomatoes with their juice
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup cooked soybeans
1 1/2 cups cooked ground beef
1 TBSP beef boullion granules
1 TBSP chopped garlic
3/4 cup water
1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 small onion, chopped

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and potatoes. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and cook another 5 minutes, adding some of the water as neccessary. Sprinkle with beef granules and add the beans and tomatoes with more water if needed. Cook covered for about 10 minutes until potatoes are cooked. Toss in the peas and garlic, and cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes to heat thru and slightly cook the garlic (I like the bite of raw garlic!).That's it! Simple and delicious!